Xbox series x controller battery packs: Xbox Rechargeable Battery + USB-C® Cable

Xbox Series X rechargeable battery is a huge step back

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I’ve generally had very complimentary things to say about the Xbox Series X controller, which I actually prefer to the PS5’s DualSense. It may be a very conservative upgrade, but it’s a very conservative upgrade of one of the best controllers ever made. 

The Xbox Series X controller is comfortable, intuitive and versatile. The only negative issue is that it uses wasteful, expensive AA batteries — and Microsoft’s official rechargeable battery pack, sold separately for $25, doesn’t address this problem nearly as well as it should.

  • Read our full Xbox Series X review
  • Here’s the best time to buy the Xbox Series X
  • Plus: PS5 Target restock tipped for this week — here are the dates

Like the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers, the Xbox Series X/S controller uses disposable AA batteries by default rather than internal, rechargeable battery packs, such as those found in the PS3, PS4 and PS5 controllers.  

Without belaboring the issue, AA batteries are both wasteful and inefficient, and I’m generally not thrilled that Microsoft has passed what is essentially an additional cost onto the consumer rather than just building it into the price of the controller.

(Image credit: Future)

The light of my battery life 

The one consolation is that Microsoft’s rechargeable battery packs have generally been pretty good in the past. My Xbox 360 battery pack lasted for about seven years before it started losing significant amounts of charge; my Xbox One battery pack is still going strong. Both of those battery packs also included a charging cable with an indicator light.

Unlike most gaming peripherals, Xbox controllers do not have a light that indicates charge. (The illuminated power button would work just fine for this application, but I digress.) The only way to check how much power you have left is to boot up your Xbox and check the top of the home screen — or install a dedicated app on your PC.  

Older Xbox battery-pack charging cables partly alleviated this problem. The LEDs on the cables would glow orange while the controller was charging, and either green or white once the charge was complete.

While Xbox One battery packs are compatible with Xbox Series X controllers, the charging cables are not, since newer controllers use USB-C rather than microUSB plugs.  However, the Xbox Rechargeable Battery + USB-C Cable for Xbox Series X (rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?) is a huge step backward for one simple reason: There’s no indicator light.

This may not seem like a big deal. After all, you get a battery pack and charging cable, and they work well; what more could you want? But a charging light is an invaluable thing, especially if you have only one controller. 

It lets you know when you can detach your controller and jump back into a game; it could also save you some money on electricity, since Xbox consoles will provide a small trickle of power to charging gear even when the system is turned off.

More than anything else, though, a charging indicator saves you frustration. Is the light orange? Your controller is charging. Is the light white? Your controller is charged. 

With this new charging cable, you have to turn on your TV and your Xbox (again — this wastes both time and power), and examine a tiny icon at the top of the screen. If your controller is charging, you’ll see a battery with a plug icon and a slowly moving white bar. If your controller is charged, you’ll see a nearly identical battery with a plug icon, but this time, the bar is static. 

If Microsoft couldn’t give us an LED on the cable itself, the very least it could have done is make the “charged” symbol on the Xbox home screen a little more distinctive.

Considering that the rechargeable battery is more or less a necessary expense, the least Microsoft could have done was provide a cable equally as good as its last-gen model. Instead, we got a much less useful product for the exact same price.

(Image credit: Future)

Xbox play and charge kit alternatives 

Had I known that I was essentially just paying for a very long USB-C cable, I probably would have avoided buying Microsoft’s rechargeable battery kit. (Again: Xbox One rechargeable battery packs still work fine, and I have two of them. Your mileage may vary on this, of course.) After the fact, though, I discovered that Microsoft fans are not without options when it comes to charging solutions with indicators.

First, there’s something like the Numskull Xbox Series X LED USB-C Charge Cable (another product name that leaves nothing to the imagination). Very simply, it’s a USB-C charging cable that lights up as a controller charges. 

This is exactly what Microsoft should have included with its rechargeable battery pack. On the other hand, a five-foot-long cable is not useful for playing games while a controller charges, and it doesn’t come with a battery pack.

Then there’s something like the HyperX ChargePlay Duo, just announced at CES 2021, which  uses proprietary battery packs and a physical dock to charge controllers. It’s a little cumbersome, and at $40, it’s more expensive than buying a single battery pack from Microsoft. (You get two batteries, so the math makes sense if you own two controllers.) It’s not quite as simple as just plugging in a cable, but at least you know when your batteries are done charging.

The best solution, though, would be for Microsoft to simply include an LED charging light on the next batch of Xbox Series X rechargeable battery cables. It’s an extremely inconvenient oversight, but also one that seems relatively easy to fix.

The company could also start manufacturing controllers with built-in rechargeable batteries, but that seems like a bigger ask.

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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom’s Guide, overseeing the site’s coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

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Xbox controller charger: How to charge Xbox Series X/S controllers

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With the launch of the Xbox Series X, a console many people are still struggling to get hold of thanks to the problems with stock, came the launch of a fancy new Xbox Wireless Controller to use.

While the new Xbox controller does not break the mould from what came before, there are some nice changes. It feels better to touch, taking a screenshot or recording a video clip has never been easier, and the joypads move are more freely than they ever did on past versions.

  • Buy an Xbox controller at Amazon for £47. 99

But if you have one, how do you charge it? You have a couple of options to choose from when it comes to Xbox controller chargers! Read on for all the details.

If you fancy making some great savings this month, take a look at our guides to the Amazon Spring Sale. This includes the most useful Amazon Spring Sale UK deals and when does the Amazon Spring Sale end?

Get 60% off Halo Infinite for the Xbox

Amazon is running a ton of deals on Xbox games and accessories as part of its new Spring Sale.

One of the best offers on the table is 60 per cent off Halo Infinite – one of Xbox’s most popular multiplayer games. With an RRP of £54.99, this game has had a reduction of £33, leaving it at just £21.99. 

So, make sure you get it before your next group gaming session!

Halo Infinite | £54.99 £21.99 (save £33 or 60%)

How do you charge an Xbox controller?

What kind of charger does the Xbox Series X controller use? Let’s get the important detail out of the way first – the gamepad that comes with new Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One consoles does not have a rechargeable battery. Rather, it will come with two standard AA batteries that will eventually run out of juice.

Your Xbox Series X/S controller does have a USB-C port, though, are those connections are becoming the norm for more and more gadgets and devices now, so you should have an extra couple of wires knocking about already. If you run out of battery, then, you can plug the controller directly into your console and use it in a wired way. But it won’t charge up unless you buy an extra product!

Read more on Xbox:

  • The very best Xbox Series X games
  • What is Xbox Game Pass? Price and perks explained
  • How to connect any Xbox controller to Xbox Series X/S

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Which Xbox controller charger should you buy?

Thinking long-term, if you want to charge your Xbox controller up repeatedly, you will want to invest in a rechargeable battery pack, a controller charging station or some rechargeable AA batteries to put in your controller. Any of those three options will allow you to fulfil all your Xbox controller charging needs. For more of this, check out our guide to the best rechargeable batteries.

If you’re wondering, can I charge my Xbox controller with a phone charger? The answer to that question if a yes with caveats. If your phone charges via a USB-C cable, you’ll want to buy an Xbox battery pack (like the one linked below) that also uses USB-C. That’s if you’re dead-set on the idea of using the same charger for both devices.

More like this

  • Buy the Official Xbox Series X Rechargeable Battery Pack & Cable Set (£19.99 at Argos)

Xbox has kept it simple by also allowing us to use good old fashioned batteries, and buying rechargeable ones is a very wise idea. We’d argue this option is better than buying a rechargeable battery pack, because actual AA batteries could come in handy for a great number of things besides your controller needs.

We’d recommend the Energizer Recharge Pro, linked below, which can house four AA batteries at a time and generally charges them up pretty quickly. Check out the product, which we’ve been happily using for months, at this link:

  • Buy an Energizer Recharge Pro Battery Charger (£21.99 at Amazon)

Just keep a spare set of batteries in the charger and swap them when the ones you are using run out. That way you will always have a charged pair ready to put in so you will never be caught off guard with a powerless controller.

Have you been wondering, does Xbox Series X have a charging station? The answer to that question is yes, too. There are loads of third-party charging stations listed online, like the one linked below that can juice up two controllers at a time.

  • Buy the PowerA Dual Charging Station for Xbox (£14.99 at Currys)

There you have it, then – three solid options for Xbox controller charging. And if you’re wondering, do Xbox One controllers work with the Series X? Yes, they do! So you can use your old controllers in much the same way.

Hungry for more gaming? Visit our video game release schedule, or swing by our hubs for more Gaming and Technology news.

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